Crack Brit troops to join UN in Sahara desert to battle jihadis and armed gangs,

In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, Lt Gen Dennis Gyllensporre, the UN peacekeepers commander, said the new British unit would transform his 13,000-strong force. […]

  • The British troops will be part of a new UN strike force that takes the fight to terrorists and armed groups.
  • They will deploy under a UN banner but with orders to launch pre-emptive assaults.
  • The troops live in the desert for weeks at a stretch and only come back to replenish […]

The biggest challenge for the soldiers will be knowing who to trust. Hundreds of rival armed groups roam the badlands of northern Mali including Isis and Al Qaeda, corrupt local militias and mafia gangs smuggling drugs, people, gold and guns. Mali has been gripped by conflict since a failed coup in 2012.

The government is propped up by Lt Gen Gyllensporre’s force, but last week protestors burned the parliament and stormed the state TV station, because of anger over corruption. Violence has surged in the last few months as jihadis flee Syria and the civil war in Libya. Gen Gyllensporre said attacks were getting bigger and more complex. Malian troops must be vetted for human rights abuses. Some have and joined militias, while other groups have reconciled and are fighting on the UN side.

British troops will work alongside Swedish light infantry, a German intelligence unit, and 400 Chinese soldiers who guard the main camp at Gao run a field hospital. An elite French paratrooper was killed by a roadside bomb on Thursday bringing the country’s death toll to 43 since 2013. The UN have lost 129 killed and 358 wounded in the same period. Läs artikel

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